India’s new medicine taxes hit the poor and the sick
India surprised the world this week by announcing that it would impose taxes on many imported medicines. It will remove customs duty waivers and impose excise duty on 76 medicines used to treat cancer, HIV, haemophilia, diabetes and other diseases.
The Times of India reported that this might “result in price increases between 10-25 percent on both imported and indigenously-produced drugs.”
The ToI implies that duties on the ingredients might total 23 percent. The Press Trust of India quotes Deloitte in India Senior Director MS Mani as saying, “an increase has also been made in the customs duty rates of certain life saving drugs such as abciximab, anti-rabies immunoglobin, FSH, procarbazine and saquinavir to 35 per cent.” The last on the list is a medicine to treat HIV — a project that the Government has previously claimed is becoming increasingly unaffordable.